James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

Lindsay analyzes the politics shaping U.S. foreign policy and the sustainability of American power.

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Ten Things You Probably Don’t Know About Presidential Inaugurations

by James M. Lindsay
The U.S. Capitol in preparation for the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump. (Photo: Reuters/Carlos Barria) The U.S. Capitol in preparation for the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump. (Photo: Reuters/Carlos Barria)

To get you ready for Inauguration Day, here are ten lesser known facts about presidential inaugurations.

  1. Donald Trump will be sworn in as the forty-fifth U.S. president, but he will be only the thirty-ninth person to give an inaugural address. John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester Arthur, and Gerald Ford were all vice presidents who ascended to the presidency after the death or resignation of a president. They never won election on their own, so they never gave an inaugural address. Grover Cleveland held two nonconsecutive terms as president, and as a result, he is counted as the twenty-second and twenty-fourth president of the United States.
  2. Read more »

Ten Most Significant World Events in 2016

by James M. Lindsay
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House (Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque). U.S. President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House (Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque).

Stories began appearing midway through 2016 asking whether it was the worst year ever. It wasn’t. It’s not even the worst year in the last half century. (Try 1968. Or 1974. Or 1979.) But 2016 certainly had its share of significant world events. Here are my top ten. You may want to read what follows closely. Several of these stories will continue into 2017. Read more »

Ten Elections to Watch in 2017

by James M. Lindsay
An Iranian woman holds her daughter while casting her ballot for the parliament and Assembly of Experts in 2016. An Iranian woman holds her daughter while casting her ballot for the parliament and Assembly of Experts in 2016.

Millions of people around the world went to the polls this year. The results provided plenty of surprises. British voters defied the pollsters and voted to leave the European Union. Colombians did much the same in rejecting their government’s peace deal with FARC, though Colombia’s president found a way to complete the deal a few months later without a vote. The biggest electoral surprise of all might have been in the United States, where Donald Trump defied the political experts and defeated Hillary Clinton. Perhaps 2017 will produce similarly surprising results. Here are ten elections to watch. Read more »

Ten Historical Anniversaries of Note in 2017

by James M. Lindsay
The body of Army Corporal Frank Buckles lies in repose at Arlington National Cemetery's memorial amphitheater in 2011. Buckles was the last surviving U.S. World War I veteran. The body of Army Corporal Frank Buckles lies in repose at Arlington National Cemetery's memorial amphitheater in 2011. Buckles was the last surviving U.S. World War I veteran.

Anniversaries mark the passage of time, recall our triumphs, and honor our losses. Two thousand and sixteen witnessed many significant historical anniversaries: the seventy-fifth anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the fiftieth anniversary of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Gulf War, to name a few. Two thousand and seventeen will also see anniversaries of many significant events in world history. Here are ten of note: Read more »